A proposal to permit residential development in unincorporated areas currently zoned for agricultural use is just one of several recommended zoning ordinance changes expected to draw public interest at upcoming public information meetings.

Three public meetings are scheduled later this month to gather input on zoning ordinance changes recommended by Dudley & Associates. Utah County hired the firm in 1987 to review the zoning ordinance and recommend changes.The proposal expected to create the most controversy is a recommendation to allow certain areas of the master plan's 40-acre agricultural zone to be converted into a zone permitting one home on every five acres rather than one home every 40 acres. The change would allow some landowners in affected 40-acre zones to request the zone change.

The County Planning Commission will review the recommendations during its March 21 meeting at 7:30 p.m. in the county administration building. Public meetings will follow March 23 at the American Fork Junior High School auditorium, March 30 in Room 1400 of the county administration building and April 6 in the Payson City offices. All meetings will begin at 6 p.m.

Another of the proposed changes expected to draw interest is a recommendation to create a planned commercial-canyon zone for areas like Provo Canyon. The zone would require that commercial developments like restaurants, service stations and stores not detract from the surrounding environment.

"In most cases, Provo Canyon won't lend itself to large commercial development," said Planning Director Jeff Mendenhall. He said the proposal, if passed, would give developers some flexibility in what they could do in the canyon but would hold them to strict site plans and environmental requirements.

Currently, development in canyon areas is governed by a trades and service zone, which doesn't have strict environmental guidelines.

Dudley & Associates also is proposing creation of areas for recreational vehicles, similar to RV parks located in several Utah County cities.

"They're becoming more popular," Mendenhall said. If the recommendation is approved, he said, any proposed RV park still would have to come before the County Commission and Planning Commission.

Another ordinance revision recommends that any large-scale development, regardless of type, receive approval from the County Commission.

Commission Chairman Brent Morris said the revision resulted from problems with the proposed Traverse Ridge development near Alpine. He said the ordinance revision would allow the commission to review such proposals and provide input before final approval can be granted.

The revision list also recommends establishing stricter standards for "gravel pit activities."

Bonding of gravel pit firms would be increased from $500 to $700. When gravel extraction at a pit ends, firms would be required to leave the pit in better condition than has been required in the past.

"It's not really new," Mendenhall said. "It's just a strengthening of that section."